‘On The Road To Shambala . . .’

Shambala, according to Wikipedia, is “a kingdom hidden somewhere in Inner Asia.” Digging deeper, one reads that Shambala is “mentioned in various ancient texts, including the Kalachakra Tantra and the ancient texts of the Zhang Zhung culture which predated Tibetan Buddhism in western Tibet.” Wikipedia goes on to say:

Hindu texts such as Vishnu Purana mention the village Shambhala as the birthplace of Kalki, the final incarnation of Vishnu who will usher in a new Golden Age . . .

Whatever its historical basis, Shambhala gradually came to be seen as a Buddhist Pure Land, a fabulous kingdom whose reality is visionary or spiritual as much as physical or geographic. It was in this form that the Shambhala myth reached the Western Europe and the Americas, where it influenced non-Buddhist as well as Buddhist spiritual seekers — and, to some extent, popular culture in general.

The Wikipedia entry on Shambala offers numerous examples of the use of Shambala in Western culture, including popular culture, noting that the mythical place is sometimes claimed to have been the inspiration for Shangri-La, first described in James Hilton’s 1933 novel, Lost Horizon. Our popular culture interest this morning, of course, is the song “Shambala,” written by Daniel Moore and first recorded in 1973 by B.W. Stevenson and covered very soon after by Three Dog Night. Here’s how Stevenson sang it:

Wash away my troubles, wash away my pain
With the rain in Shambala.
Wash away my sorrow, wash away my shame
With the rain in Shambala.

Hey-ay-ee . . .

Everyone is helpful, everyone is kind
On the road to Shambala.
Everyone is helpful, everyone is kind
On the road to Shambala.

How does your light shine in the halls of Shambala?
How does your light shine in the halls of Shambala?
Tell me: How does your light shine in the halls of Shambala?
How does your light shine in the halls of Shambala?

I can tell my sister by the flowers in her eyes
On the road to Shambala.
I can tell my brother by the flowers in his eyes
On the road to Shambala.

Hey-ay-ee . . .

Stevenson’s version entered the Billboard Hot 100 on May 12, 1973, and spent eight weeks in the chart, peaking at No. 66. It went to No. 31 on the adult contemporary chart. The cover from Three Dog Night entered the Hot 100 a week later for a sixteen-week stay, peaking at No. 3 on both the pop and AC charts.

And with your host limited by a couple of summer ailments, other covers of “Shambala” – including the 1998 version by its writer, Daniel Moore – will have to wait until later in the week.

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2 Responses to “‘On The Road To Shambala . . .’”

  1. […] Echoes In The Wind Hear that music in the distance? So do I. « ‘On The Road To Shambala . . .’ […]

  2. […] the two 1973 versions and the two other covers noted here last week, I’ve found three other covers of “Shambala” […]

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